The Ozark Actors Theatre’s new community-theater arm, the Cedar Street Players, will present their debut production of “Anne of Green Gables” at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Cedar Street Playhouse in Rolla.
The play tells the story of an aging brother and sister, who ask an orphanage to send a boy to work on their farm. However, a mix-up results in 11-year-old Anne Shirley arriving at their doorstep, much to their surprise.
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays now through Nov. 18. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for audience members ages 29 and younger and military service members.
The Ozark Actors Theatre has a long history of producing a community show during the two weekends before Thanksgiving.
“The fall community show has been a central part of who we are as an organization for a very long time,” said A.S. Freeman, OAT artistic director. “As an organization, providing a creative home for the many talented artists in this community and the surrounding areas is very important to us.”
The show is led by Rolla-area performer Caiti Townley in the title role. Markus Bauer plays Gilbert Blythe, and many other local favorites and newcomers will delight audiences as they bring this classic story of orphan Anne Shirley to life.
Like many people, the play’s director, Mika Laulainen, has a personal connection to the story.
“I read all of the Anne novels by L.M. Montgomery in my youth and identified with Anne,” she said. “I love how empowered she is and how she’s not afraid to speak her mind.”
Laulainen, who hails from Canada, said the character of Anne is a strong female protagonist that she and many other readers looked up to in their youth. When asked why people should see the show, Laulainen said, “Anne of Green Gables is a treasured, timeless story. The play is wildly fun, hopeful, and full of delight — just like Anne herself.”
Tickets are available at the Ozark Actors Theatre Box Office and are available online at www.ozark actorstheatre.org.